Unmarried Couples, Law, and Public Policy

Hardcover | November 3, 2010

byCynthia Grant Bowman

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In Unmarried Couples, Law, and Public Policy, Cynthia Grant Bowman explores legal recognition of opposite-sex cohabiting couples in the United States. Unmarried cohabitation has increased at a phenomenal rate in the U.S. over the last few decades, but the law has not responded to the legalissues raised by this new family form. Although a majority of cohabiting unions dissolve within the first two years, many are longer in term and function like other families; a large number of children also reside in these households. If one partner dies, is injured, or leaves the family, theremaining family members are left in an extremely vulnerable position in almost every state without any type of survivors' benefits, compensation for loss of a wage-earning partner, or remedies similar to those available upon dissolution of a marriage.The author argues that the many benefits attendant upon formal marriage should be extended to cohabitants who have lived together for more than two years or give birth to a child. In order to avoid these consequences, a couple would need to opt out of them by contract.Professor Bowman reaches this conclusion after a thorough review of the history of the legal treatment of cohabitation in the United States, the inadequacy of the legal remedies available to cohabitants in most states, the now-voluminous social science literature about cohabitation, and theexperience of six other countries (England, Canada, Australia, France, The Netherlands, and Sweden) that have attempted a variety of legal reforms to address the problems of cohabitants.

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In Unmarried Couples, Law, and Public Policy, Cynthia Grant Bowman explores legal recognition of opposite-sex cohabiting couples in the United States. Unmarried cohabitation has increased at a phenomenal rate in the U.S. over the last few decades, but the law has not responded to the legalissues raised by this new family form. Althoug...

Cynthia Grant Bowman is the Dorothea S. Clarke Professor of Feminist Jurisprudence at Cornell Law School. A graduate of Swarthmore College, she has a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. She has published widely in diverse areas of family law and other topics concer...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:November 3, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195372271

ISBN - 13:9780195372274

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Table of Contents

Preface and AcknowledgementsIntroduction1. Cohabitation in the United States: The PastCriminalization of CohabitationCommon Law Marriage and Related FictionsDenial of Benefits to Cohabitants: A Case Study of IllinoisThe Inadequacy of Equitable Remedies2. Legal Treatment of Cohabitation in the United States TodayCohabitants' Rights Based on ContractCohabitants' Rights Based on StatusMeretricious Relationships in WashingtonDomestic Partnership LawsRights Against Third PartiesBenefits from the StateTort Claims against Third PartiesHealth-Related BenefitsCohabitants and Their Children3. Cohabitation in the United States TodayThe 1960sChange over TimeStatisticsRate and Age of MarriagePredictionsWho Cohabits and Why?College Students and Young Dating SinglesVariations by IncomeVariation by Race and Ethnic Group: African AmericansVariation by Race and Ethnic Group: Latino/asDivorced PersonsThe ElderlyOther Characteristics4. Social Science and CohabitationThe PioneersTrends in the LiteratureWhat Social Science Has Told us about CohabitationDuration of Cohabiting UnionsThe Economics of Cohabiting RelationshipsManagement of money within cohabiting relationshipsThe impact of cohabitation upon the economic well-being of the partners and their childrenDivision of household labor between cohabitantsQuality of the RelationshipDomestic Violence and CohabitationImpact of Cohabitation on ChildrenWhat We Know: A SummaryImplications of the Social Science Findings5. Treatment of Cohabitation in Other NationsEngland: Non Recognition and Piecemeal BenefitsCanada: The New Common Law Marriage?De Facto Relationship in AustraliaThe Netherlands: A Cafeteria Approach to Cohabitants' RightsFrance: Concubinage and the Pacte Civil de SolidariteSweden and Neutrality between Cohabitation and Marriage6. A New Law for Cohabitants in the United StatesRecommendations for Reform of U.S. LawImposition by Law of Quasi-marital Status on Cohabitants after Two Years or a ChildA System of Registration for Domestic PartnershipsThe Ability of Cohabitants to Contract Out of ObligationsThe Impact of the Proposed Reforms on MarriageIncentives and MarriageCross-historical and Cross-national ComparisonsThe Impact of the Proposed Reforms on Various Groups of CohabitantsConclusionBibliographyIndex